Link Age Southwark is embarking upon a new project to provide support to older people going into hospital for elective hip and knee surgery by matching them with a volunteer Hospital Buddy.

The volunteer will be matched with the individual prior to admission and will stay in touch via home visits and telephone contact for up to 18 weeks after their discharge from hospital. Volunteers will focus on the emotional and welfare needs of the person, liaising with other support networks available to the service user such as family members, health providers and community groups.

Friendly, encouraging support from a volunteer at this time can make all the difference to restoring essential self-confidence, leading to improved health and wellbeing and reducing readmissions.

As a Hospital Buddy, your role will involve:

  • Providing information, support and reassurance to an older person prior to their admission to hospital, and on their discharge (for up to 18 weeks);
  • Keeping in touch on a regular basis to promote wellbeing and reduce feelings of loneliness;
  • Referring to Link Age Southwark services from which the older person might benefit, e.g. activity groups, befriending and events;
  • Signposting to other local support networks from which the older person might benefit, e.g. Time and Talents, Blackfriars Settlement,
  • Keeping in touch with the team at Link Age Southwark regarding the wellbeing of the person you are supporting.

What you need to be a successful Hospital Buddy:

  • a cheerful and friendly personality
  • effective communication/listening skills
  • commitment to keeping in touch with an older person for 1-2 hours per week, for up to 6 months
  • good timekeeping and reliability
  • be empathetic towards the needs of older people
  • patient, understanding and non-judgemental attitude
  • to attend all relevant training so that you are ready and confident in your role
  • complete a fully enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service application (we will pay for this)
  • provide two referees whom you have known for at least 2 years for a character reference, ideally one of which should be from a previous employer, education or volunteer organisation
  • understanding and commitment to working within the policies of Link Age Southwark, in particular health and safety, confidentiality, safeguarding and equality and diversity.

What’s in it for you?

  • you will be gaining a new experience in your local community, getting to know an older person
  • being part of a great team of Link Age Southwark volunteers and staff
  • you will be playing a vital part in easing loneliness and isolation of an older person and help them get the best from life
  • as well as attending our induction you will have opportunities to attend other training including Emergency First Aid, Mental Health Awareness and Assisting People with Mobility Needs
  • you will be entitled to claim reasonable expenses
  • we can provide references after you have completed 6 months in a volunteering role with Link Age Southwark
  • you will have an enriching and fulfilling experience!

How do I apply?

Complete online application form

If you would prefer, you can also download our application form here and email to [email protected]